House bill would force businesses to detail anti-trafficking efforts

House bill would force businesses to detail anti-trafficking efforts

Lawmakers are pushing businesses to adopt policies that prevent human trafficking, slavery and child labor in their supply chains.

Reps. Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn Bosher MaloneyThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Washington mourns loss of Elijah Cummings Maloney to serve as acting Oversight chairwoman after Cummings's death Elijah Cummings, Democratic chairman and powerful Trump critic, dies at 68 MORE (D-N.Y.) and Chris Smith (R-N.J.) introduced the Business Supply Chain Transparency on Trafficking and Slavery Act of 2015 on Monday.

The bill would require public companies with over $100 million in global gross receipts to publicly disclose any measures to prevent human trafficking, slavery and child labor in their supply chains as part of their annual reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The legislation comes after the State Department released its 2015 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, which said, "Governments should set clear expectations for businesses on human rights issues and adopt policies that promote greater transparency and better reporting on anti-trafficking efforts in supply chains."

In a news release, Maloney said a number of goods being sold to American consumers are produced with slave labor and the U.S. has an obligation to do something about it.

“This legislation simply requires businesses to publicly disclose what actions they have voluntarily undertaken to remove labor abuses from their supply chains,” she said. “It is a good first step we can take to improve reporting and transparency so that we can enforce existing laws against labor abuses and allow consumers to make more informed decisions."

Maloney's legislation was first introduced in 2011 as the Business Transparency on Trafficking & Slavery Act. According to Maloney’s office, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) is planning to introduce a companion bill in the Senate.